A Tough Tax Day for California

Bill Wells Bill Wells 9 Comments

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Today is Tax Day. If you and your family are struggling over the financial burdens of our state’s wildly out-of-control taxes, you are not alone.

Here in San Diego County, the unemployment rate continues at an all time high, kicking off 2010 at 11% in January, up from a revised 10.3% in December. January was the county’s seventh month in a row with unemployment above 10 percent, characterized by economists as the longest period of double-digit employment locally since the Great Depression.

While Californians have suffered from a global economic slowdown, much of the damage is self inflicted. The tax and regulatory burden that California’s government has imposed on families and businesses in our state is the reason we will continue to lag behind the nation in recovery. The laundry list of taxes, including property taxes, gas taxes, airport taxes, hotel taxes, income taxes, probate taxes, and excise taxes, makes it difficult to quantify how much we all really pay.

Our estimated state/local tax burden 10.5% stands at the 6th highest nationally, with Californians paying $5,028 per capita in state and local taxes. But that just begins to explain the frustration faced by many Californians’ just trying to survive.
California ranked 48th of 50 states in the 2010 business Tax Climate gathered by the Tax Foundation. This index compares the states in five areas of taxation that impact business: corporate taxes; individual income taxes; sales taxes; unemployment insurance taxes; and taxes on property, including residential and commercial property.

California’s Top Individual Income Tax Rate Is 4th Highest in the Nation at 10.55%, and since most small businesses pay their business taxes at the rates for individuals, our state tax on small businesses constitute some of the most burdensome in the country. Meanwhile our Corporate Income Tax Rate is set at 8.4%, – the highest in the West.

Combine all this with the hardship of paying the highest state sales tax in the nation beginning at 8.25% and reaching as high as 10.75% once local sales tax included, I understand the frustration with the out-of-control taxing and spending in Sacramento.
As I’ve said before locally as Mayor Pro-tem of El Cajon, the problem is not a lack of funds. There is more than enough revenue from fair and appropriate taxation to pay for all of the basic programs that our state and local governments should be involved in. The problem is not one of revenue, but rather of excessive spending and government overreach.

California has become addicted to spending. Our representatives try and control our actions and even our thoughts by implementing massive programs that burn through our money. This concept goes against the most fundamental concepts of good government.

I believe that it is the duty of government to diminish itself to the point that the people are not burdened by taxes. It is the duty of elected officials to force the government to restrict itself to the functions of protecting the people and providing the necessary infrastructure for people to thrive. Other than that, it is the duty of government to get out of the way and allow the people to use their own God given talents to innovate, produce and succeed.

Until this is done, know that I will be a force against any new taxation.

As your representative in the State Assembly I will fight to reduce the size of government and its ability to overstep its bounds in your lives. I welcome you contact me with your individual concerns at Bill@VoteBillWells.com and to view my website at www.vbwells.us and join me in this campaign.

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Comments 9

  1. Sadly, Bill Wells — an El Cajon politician now running for CA Assembly — here fails to explain what is BY FAR the number one problem crippling his city as well as our state government — our insane overcompensation of government employees. THAT is where the money goes — not “wasteful programs.”

    Local politicians — and those seeking state office as he is now — generally are afraid of their own workers, and seek to curry favor from them (including the coveted endorsements and independent expenditures). Bill’s glaring omission of this KEY factor bankrupting our state and local governments does not bode well for the citizens of El Cajon — or for his assembly district should be get elected.

    Perhaps his failure to mention our public employee overcompensation (salary and benefits) was just an oversight on Wells’ part. But I suspect not. This piece is carefully constructed to push taxpayers’ buttons without facing the core issue for both his city and state government.

  2. Richard,

    You are right about the pension system…..it is a huge burden on the cities and must be addressed. I am not worried about taking a stand on this issue, but it is complex and deserves a stand alone article. I do appreciate you keeping me focused. Bill Wells

  3. Lawyers first rule in the courtroom is “never ask a question to which you don’t already know the answer.” I failed lawyering without even going to law school!

    So let me ask — what was your formal position on the 1% El Cajon city sales tax increase? Did you vote to put it on the ballot? Did you sign a ballot argument on this prop? If so, for which side? If not, why not? Any other input is also welcome on this matter.

    I gotta learn to look these answers up BEFORE I ask such questions. Sadly, I’m just lazy — I figure you know the answers already!

  4. Not Bill’s mouthpiece here, and I know he can speak for himself, but since I was following these East County tax proposals closely, as well as asked him the question when I hosted the Rick Amato Show, I can tell you this… Wells was running for council when the tax proposal was being considered, so wasn’t in a position to vote to place it on the ballot. He opposed it as part of his campaign. He can correct me if I am wrong. Here is a UT piece, in which he states his opinions on budget cuts, pensions, etc…generally:
    http://legacy.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20080927/news_1ez27cajon.html
    I hope all of the candidates use this opportunity to address the pension situation and how to address it at both local and state levels.

  5. Thanks for the prompt and factual response, Barry. Sounds like Bill does indeed grasp the pension problem. Now let’s hope that my comment inspires Bill AND OTHERS seeking public office to realize that public employee overcompensaton is THE problem destroying California.

    No one likes to offend police and firefighters. But the time has come for fiscal conservatives to show their colors and take the heat. Stop talking about unspecified “massive programs that burn through our money,” and come out strongly against public employees gutting our budgets.

  6. Richard, what about the illegal alien parasites in the state? Everybody I talk to say they are the reason the state is broke. Do I have this wrong? You mean to tell me the cops and firefighters are taking down the state. California holds just about 40% of the welfare cases in the US. I think that is more of an issue than cops and firefighters. Can you educate me if I got this wrong?

  7. Justin, illegal aliens are definitely a problem. But the cost of or state and local employees are a FAR, FAR bigger problem.

    Check the recent Stanford study that they three biggest CA pension plans are underfunded by $500 BILLION. And that’s just the pensions. It doesn’t count public employee health care and the overpaying of salaries, nor does it include the separate troubled pension funds of the large cities such as San Diego — whose nonsafety employees are not under CalPERS.

    Look at the state and especially local budgets. It’s not the giveaways that are eating us alive — it’s the our employee compensation costs. And these budgets grossly understate the full employee costs by underfunding pension funds and using “pay-go” for retire health care.

    Illegal aliens have become for the Right the bogeymen of CA. Most of the posturing is anti-aliens. It’s guaranteed to fill any talk show’s phone lines with outraged callers. All white.

    This is a godsend to the public employees and the union bosses, as it distracts the Right from what is really bankrupting our state and local governments. And Dems love it because the GOP has alienated the Hispanics in the state (especially with the deportation talk).

    Whites (which now make up almost the entire GOP effort) are now a plurality in this state — vociferous at Tea Party meetings, but ineffectual in a blue state such as California. Look at the Oceanside Tea Party rally photos — 99+% white. Long term, this doesn’t work.

    BTW, most of the welfare cases in CA are NOT illegal aliens. Sure, there is fraud, but it’s only a small part of the problem. The far bigger problem is that we no longer try to wean recipients from welfare — we’ve fallen back into the 1960’s “Great Society” welfare mentality.

  8. Justin, looking back at your comment about my comment (“No one likes to offend police and firefighters. But the time has come for fiscal conservatives to show their colors and take the heat.”), I can see where you might feel that I’m laying most of the problem on police and firefighters. I’m not. They are indeed a big factor (especially for small and medium size towns and cities), but not the only factor.

    My point I did not properly articulate is that the hardest thing for conservative politicians to do involving public employee matters is to look a public safety employee in the eye and cut his compensation. Clearly, Republicans have to tell ALL government employees that the great public employee rip-off must come to an end — including police, and especially ff’s.

    There’s a natural affinity between police and ff’s and conservatives. Indeed, many police and ff’s view themselves as conservatives. I’ve talked to a number of ff’s who have brought up this conflict — conservative ff’s who find themselves dependent on rough labor union politics for their generous pay and benefits.

  9. WOW, Richard thanks for taking the time for the great response. I would have never guessed. I only hear about the other issues I mentioned. We have been scamed out of major tax payer’s money. I just checked the Stanford Study. I also think it is hard for politicans to cut public employees benefits down because they’re pay and benifits usually are even better. We have CA ploiticans making well in the 100,000 dollar range and also given a “cost of living expense.” for cars, hotels, food, gas, airfare etc. All on the back of the tax payer.

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